UNITED STATES NEWS

Native American tribes reach $590 million opioid settlement

Feb 1, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2022, 9:20 am

Native American tribes have reached settlements over the toll of opioids totaling $590 million with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and the country’s three largest drug distribution companies, according to a court filing made public Tuesday.

The filing in U.S. District Court in Cleveland lays out the broad terms of the settlements with Johnson & Johnson and distribution companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. Some details are still being hashed out.

All federally recognized tribes in the U.S. will be able to participate in the settlements, even if they did not sue over opioids. And there could be settlements between other firms in the industry and tribes, many of which have been hit hard by the overdose crisis.

W. Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state, called it a big deal for tribes to reach their own settlement, in contrast with tobacco industry deals in the 1990s that left out Native American groups.

Allen doesn’t expect his tribe of about 550 people to get much from the settlement, but it will help in its efforts to build a healing center that will address opioid addiction, he said.

“Every penny counts, so we’ll take it and run with it,” he said.

One study cited in the settlement found that Native Americans have had the highest per capita rate of opioid overdose of any population group in 2015.

“The dollars that will flow to tribes under this initial settlement will help fund crucial, on-reservation, culturally appropriate opioid treatment services,” Douglas Yankton, chairman of the Spirit Lake Nation in North Dakota, said in a statement.

More than 400 tribes and intertribal organizations representing about 80% of tribal citizens have sued over opioids.

New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson — whose opioids included Duragesic and Nucynta but which has stopped selling opioids — said in a statement Tuesday that the settlement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing.

AmerisourceBergen, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, said in a statement that the deal will expedite help for communities and let the company focus on the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Cardinal, based in Columbus, Ohio, and McKesson, based in Irving, Texas, declined to comment.

Under the deal, Johnson & Johnson would pay $150 million over two years. AmerisourceBergen McKesson and Cardinal would contribute $440 million in total over seven years.

Each of the 574 federally recognized tribes could decide whether to participate but would be required to use the money to deal with the opioid epidemic.

The deal would take effect when 95% of the tribes with lawsuits against the companies agree to the settlement, said Tara Sutton, a lawyer whose firm is representing 28 tribes.

Settlements are also in the works between tribes and other companies involved in opioids, Sutton said.

The newly announced deals are separate from a $75 million one the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the three distribution companies reached last year ahead of a trial.

The same four companies are nearing the final stages of approval of settlements worth $26 billion with state and local governments across the U.S. They have until later this month to decide whether enough government entities have signed on to continue in the deal.

The money for tribes will come out of the larger settlements.

The tribal settlements are part of about $40 billion worth of settlements, penalties and fines rung up over the years by companies over their role in opioids.

The drugs, including both prescription drugs such as OxyContin and illicit ones including heroin and illegally made fentanyl, have been linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. in the past two decades.

___

Mulvihill reported from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Fonseca from Flagstaff, Arizona.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

Associated Press

Patient and 3 staffers charged in another patient’s beating death at mental health facility

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A patient, two psychiatric assistants and a nurse have been indicted on charges stemming from the beating death of another patient at a state-run mental health facility in Ohio. A 24-year-old man who allegedly attacked the 57-year-old victim at Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Columbus on July 23, 2022, is charged […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Writer for conservative media outlet surrenders to face Capitol riot charges

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas-based writer for a conservative media outlet surrendered to authorities Friday on charges that he joined a mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol more than three years ago. Steve Baker, who has written articles about the Jan. 6, 2021, riot for Blaze News, faces four misdemeanor counts, including trespassing and disorderly […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Kristlyn Wood, a cousin of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, reacts during a vigil in Cunningha...

Associated Press

Family and advocates want solution to legal loophole after the death of Audrii Cunningham

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — As mourners prepare for the funeral of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who was killed near Houston, the community wants answers about how the suspect in her death was allowed to remain free despite a long criminal history of violence. Nearly two decades years before Don McDougal was charged with capital murder in […]

3 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: A closer look at the alleged cover-up of Preston Lord’s fatal beating

Arizona Republic investigative reporters Robert Anglen and Elena Santa Cruz join guest host Kristin Bentz to further explain the latest developments in the Preston Lord investigation. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

3 hours ago

Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings after an Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refu...

Associated Press

US to airdrop humanitarian aid into Gaza — how it can help and why it’s so complicated

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday announced that the U.S. will begin airdropping sorely needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Here’s what you need to know: WHEN WILL THE AIRDROPS START? Biden said the airdrops will be coordinated with Jordan, which has conducted several rounds of airdrops into Gaza […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge puts brakes on new law banning foreign government spending on referendums

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal judge is delaying the implementation of a voter-approved law in Maine that aimed to close an election law loophole by stopping foreign government spending on state referendum races. U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen issued a preliminary injunction on Thursday, the day before the new law was to go into […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Native American tribes reach $590 million opioid settlement